tv NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt NBC December 18, 2019 5:30pm-6:01pm PST
on. >> jeff bennett on the hill watching it play out. jeff. >> one interesting thing to note is that tulsi gabbard, the democratic congresswoman from hawaii voted present in the last couple of weeks or so. she said that she thought censuring president trump would be the proper remedy for his ukraine dealings, not impeachment. and gabbard is the democrat that many republicans love to love because she stakes out positions running counter to democratic goals including tonight not voting for impeachment,american.
to be impeached. when we calm back on the air, the president right now is at a campaign rally? michigan, paraphrasing, it doesn't feel like i'm being impeached, clearly drawing energy from the crowds there, as he often does, an environment he is quite comfortable in likely will mirror some of the points from the letter he sent to speaker pelosi yesterday. chuck humaners says we want witnesses, republicans have said the process wasn't fair. will they look at the polls that americans are leaning toward more and not less.
>> i don't know that polling will do it. i'm going to single out six states that stand for the six senators who cannot win reelection without winning over some voters -- arizona, iowa, georgia, north carolina and maine. there's two seats? georgia that are up for grabs. essential these are senator collins in maine. joni ernst in iowa, martha mcsally in arizona. none of them can win reelection without winning over voters who believe that president trump did something wrong, and they'll have to win over voters who believe the president should be queechd. mitch mcconnell has to do enough of of a trials that they can
go back to constituents to say they took this seriously and they held the president accountable. how do you do that? they have to show in small lice of the electorate that they're while at the same time not alienating the president personally, who will turn the base against these people. this is why mitch mcconnell is trying so hard -- maybe there's a trial with no witnesses. we won't dismiss it immediately. any knows there's not the vote for that. this is the tricky politics for mcconnell. for a while it looked like nancy pelosi was the one navigating hard politics in those trump districts. guess what? the uncomfortable position of moderates now belongs to the republicans in the senate. they'll be the ones we'lli i will be squeamish in their seats mow the rho outcome is known -- >> hold on a second,
chuck. speaker pelosi is about to make a remark. she's dropped the gavel. we're expecting to hear the clerk read the final tally on this vote. >> on this vote the y yeas is did article 1 is adopted. the question is on adoption of article 2. . the question is on the adoption of article 2. those in favor say aye. those opposed nay. the ayes have it. for what purpose of the gentleman from new york has a question.
>> madam speaker, i asked for a vote. >> for the purpose of the gentleman from new york seeks recognition. >> i ask for a roll call vote. >> those favors -- a reported vote will still -- that would be in order. >> members will record their votes by electronic device. all right, so we just saw. >> it's a five-minute vote. >> five-minute vote. it won in the voice vote. record the vote. >> she said don't even think about cheering.
that was classic pelosi. she was the schoolmarm basically saying, do not cheer. the politics of that, then cheering an impeachment. she has said all along this is solemn, this is prayerful. she did not want any kind of victory celebration on the floor of the house. i saw three people not voting, i don't know, on the final tally, one person who was present is tulsi gabbard, as chuck was saying and geoff bennett was saying, a presidential candidate, not here for this vote, clearly not wanting to be part of the debate. >> and not wanting to speak past the headline. president trump now becomes the third american president to be impeached. he has been -- the body adopt, the first articles of impeachment, that president trump abused hi power. they just had a voice vote that he
obstructed congress. that is going on in term of a recorded vote. you see the number of the tally there. this was a three and a half minutes left on the official countdown clock. members have the option to split their vote. we don't know if we will see that or not. kelly o'donnell is with the president, as word filters there that he's impeached. >> reporter: no real sense that the president knows that the vote has now passed and his place in history is marked in a way he never imagined. , notably he -- and crowd size, and said i could send baron trump a 13-year-old trump and he would get a bigger crowd. i don't recall ever lester recalling about his youngest child in
rallies like this. a bit nostalgic. he was in michigan on election day 2016, and of course he's looking to try to keep michigan in his column for 2020. certainly fire from the president, even a bit of anger coming through, but no moment where someone rushed out on the stage to tell him the vote has been concluded. we have been told by the vice president that the president would wait. he didn't do that. clearly when he walked out here, he knew that the numbers were almost certain and he's looking ahead to -- >> in battle career, michigan, as we watch the tally. the president has been beefed on the first article. let ate bring back chuck todd. we knew this was going to happen, but to hear the words the
president has been impeached, does the world wake up differently tomorrow, or will it work familiar? >> it feels like we're unfortunately looking awfully familiar. it is bizarre to me that this heavy momentous thing that's happening in our country, a part of the constitution that's rarely used, being used, and there's this sort of -- well, it's just another day, or it's just another battle in the political war, or it's -- and i mean, you know, the president is holding a rally right now. he's been impeached. bill clinton attempted to apologize to congress before. donald trump said he holds himself -- doesn't believe he's contributed to this at all, zero. i am struck by something, i was thinking about while watching this. you know, there was a lot of concern among represents when trump went into the white house that he would
self-impeach. there was they're he didn't appreciate the guardrails that the constitution provided, and he would bull-rush in, but there were a bunch of people that would try to prevent that. it is not lost on me once the president created a white house that only answered to him, he ended up basically walking into this impeachment. that is what happened. he really did just sort of not listen to advisers, people told him be careful of these things, and he walked into this anyway, not really understand the gravity, i get. it always felt as if he never really appreciated the constraints that the constitution provides the executive branch. >> so while this was before the house, he folded his arms and essential real 'tis system and the
process. now it moves to the senate. is this where the white house begins to assert its defense and directs the senate how it wants to go about the business? >> i'm just not convinced they would have that kind of political power, political hold over the republican conference. in the senate, the way the president does have that kind of political hold over the house republicans. >> look, mish mcconnell's fate is tied to the president. he could lose reelection, but he's probably going to be okay. the fact is the majority is in the senate, will be decided by suburban voters, and these have been the votes that are the most uncomfortable with what the president did that -- in this sort of middle of this electorate. i don't think -- this is something that i think the white house has to be careful of. i think a rudy giuliani allegations that pops up in the next two weeks before the trial start, or something new from the
justice department investigation. there are anywhere up to a accident republican senators who may feel compelled to feel as if they need to make this go forward. i think there's more potential unknowns. >> watching the numbers it -- and he did in the first article? >> we don't know just yet, lester. we do know that the democrat democratic the third democratic no vote on this article of impeachment is congressman jared golden of maine. he had said earlier he was going to split his vote, voting yes on the abuse of power, no on the obstruction of justice, because again he didn't feel as if
the president's conduct met the bar for high crimes and misdemeanors charge. democrats have the vote, and again we're waiting for house speaker nancy pelosi to bring that gavel down. as we watch for that, we're not being presumptuous. let me go to hallie jackson. let's talked about that senate trial, which we know will happen. what have you heard about what input the team will have on that as it goes forward? >> chuck is right when he says there's still a lot of questions about how the defense will look and the unknown pieces of this, in regarding to the more moderate senators here, as we look at the time is out. the white house white house counsel is expected to lead the defense for president trump. he's not frankly all that familiar to our viewers. he's critical behind the scenes, but has
done anything in front of cameras, which he could be in front of for two weeks or so, deng on how long it goes. we've been told that there are some house lawmakers, like jim jordan, like mark meadows, who are in discussions to be a part of the president's legal defense team over on the senate side, to give basically this full-throated defense of president trump. i've been told publicly and prieferly behind the scenes that president trump is still weighs his options. he feels like he still has time before the senate trial gets there. as we look at the tally on the house side here, the top row, the third column there, the democratic no votes, the democratic defections, so far no republican defections on this article. watch for president trump and the white house to seize on that, to say this is not just a partisan
impeachment, but there's bipartisan opposition as well. sure it's only three democrats, but i can hear the president's surrogates, aides and advisers pointing to some of those, again, minor, three people out of hundreds, about pointing to the cracks in the democratic wall. >> thank you, hallie. speaker pelosi am some point will gavel things back to order and read off the final tally in this vote, but you can see unofficially the numbers to adopt the second articles of impeachment. let's talk more about this senate trial. carol is joinings us from san diego, carol, do we have idea of the mechanics of an impeachment trial look like? will it resemble a "law & order" trial? >> it will resemble very little. we have rules that
govern a senate impeachment trial, but as soon as you peel away the first layer, the rules begin to get very vague, because it essential allows the senate to start making up some of the rules as they go along. it requires a majority vote of the senate. so types of issues such as admifblt of evidence or which ones can be called, or how much time can be on cross or direct examination, those things are all up for debate at this time. we have very little experience with senate impeachment trials, and justice roberts will not have the kind of power that a district court judge generally has over a courtroom. it would know resemble what people normally see. we want to go back to the speaker. she has the gavel in her and, and she'll receive the final
tally on this vote. this is obstruction of congress, having to do with the president's ordering his people not to cooperate, not to provide, and to the house committee -- as we know some did on their own, some lower-level members, but some of the key people that democrats really wanted to speak to decided to go to the courts, democrats decided they didn't have the patience to wait out and they went with the hand they were dealt. that has brought them to where we are right now. the president has been impeached on the first article, abuse of power, and he appears to be moments away from officially being impeached on the second article. that is obstruction of congress. we see the speaker people tess monitor to see if she's going to call things. michael, i may interrupt you on this,
but we've on this had a couple examples, what is a post-impeachment presidency look like assuming he's not removed from office? >> this is a case where we don't have much guidance from 'history. this is a case where a president is being impeached, who is seeking reelection. we have never seen that before. you can find history on both sides of this. for instance, in 1974 when richard increasesen was on the verge of impeachment and resigned, the republicans a couple months later lost probably four dozen seats in the house. in 1998, when bill clinton was about to be impeached, newt gingrich, the speaker of the house, said this will be a big boon for republicans, make we'll get three dozen seats. as it turns out they lost about four or five. people still want to litigate.
he. >> i think to have any settled historical view, you have to wait about 40 or 50 years or more, because it takes that long to get access not only to some of the documents that you may not have seen at the time, but for the sort of the clouds of politics to clear away. in bill clinton's case that's particularly true when you have a wife who ran for president herself. let me bring in andrea mitchell, take us back to the clinton experience. ultimately how was his presidency judged? that obviously was part of his definition. i think his character failure, the flaws that led to his perjury, his misbehavior, his infidelity, impeachment, are a permanent stain.
it's going to be in the first paragraph of whatever is written about his legacy. the economic success, the decade of success really that he helped end are engender with his policies, very tough votes in favor of cutting the budget, raising taxes -- cutting the deficit, i should say, raising taxes, and paying for the economic policies, as well as a lot of his second-term policies were very successful, but impeachment remained a real part. >> he offered some level of contrition. that's not something that -- not to he -- -- >> he offered a deep apology and remorse for that behavior. whether he was truly remorseful is up to the mind readers and historians, but i think michael beschloss would agree that he gave a heartfelt speech.
the drama is over what we're seeing on the right side of the screen. the vote has been taken on the second article of impeachment. we see the numbers there. the numbers indicates it will past. the time remaining in the clock is zero. a couple handful of non-voting members so far, but we expect speaker pelosi to be reading the tailly in just a moment. it is the dramatic ending to a very, very long day in which there were no new arguments put forth. it was essential what we had been hearing all along. >> they will not be a remorseful donald trump. the fact they timed this swing state rally with the vice president at his side exactly as the vote is being held, and the ded defiance that you heard from him, that's what you're going to
hear from the president. >> the speaker obviously concerned about how members comport themselves. now here's the speaker. >> on this voight the yeas are 229, the nays are 198. article 2 is adopted. once again, speaker pelosi warning members not to wry act, but there he gets a hug at the end of a very emotional day. president trump has been impeached on both sides. >> the motion to reconsider article 1 is late on the table. without objections, the motion to reconsidering article 2 is laid on the table. pursuance to section 7-b of house resolution 758, the house stands adjourned until 9:00 a.m. tomorrow. and there you have
it. president trump has been officially impeached. he doesn't lose his job. that now goes to the senate to decide that in a trial. we're still getting an idea of what that trial will work like, the working date, the first full year after the new year's week. but in terms of the witnesses those are things still be worked out. but they seemed to be leaning toward a shorter trial with few, if any, witnesses. this is the kind of news that would rock most presidents. this ump is right now at a rally in michigan, where he is -- we likely learn to -- or fully expected he would be impeached during this appearance. kelly o'donnell is there. when we checked in last, he had not acknowledged that it had happened. has that occurred yet? >> reporter: that's right. the president has not acknowledged that the voting has taken place. in fact he's been
angry in the last few minutes, talking about the inspector general report on the fisa application, which was critical of the fbi. a few soft curse words have been uttered here, so you get a sense of the president being angry and frustrated, but there's been no big reveal moment where he was alerted to the vote count. it's been a surreal experience for both of us covering this. as i look behind me, i see computer screens in the media section that, that image of the house vote count while we're in this rally arena, with probably about 10,000 people, based on the seating capacity here. the president has going offscript extensively. he's not in the typical rhythm. it's a parade of his grievances and accomplishments as he sees them. we wondered if fact would there be a moment where he would
somehow be alerted. we have not seen that yet. safe to say the president nigh when he he stepped out tonight he would be impeached. now it's both arts, bush he is spending a night of history in a way that's fitting for donald trump, on stage surrounded by his supporters. lester? >> kelly, thank you very much. this is a president who has often referred to this process as a hoax. clearly it is not a joke. he's been impeached, two counts, two articles of impeachment. let me go to geoff bennett right now. what happens now? there's some other business they've been trying to sandwich around this impeachment to make it a point that not all has been forgotten in this process. >> reporter: you're right. when the house reconvenes tomorrow, sometimes during the day he will vote on usmca, the nafta 2.0,
the big trade deal that president trump will claim as a major victory. democrats want to show that they can do more than criticize or chastise, but that they have the capacity to govern. but there's a key next step. speaker pelosi has to announce who she wants as the house manager, the group of lawmakers that will prosecutor the case when the trial kicks off early next month. back during the clinton impeachment, republicans had 13 members of the house committee. this time around i'm told, pelosi wants a mix of judiciary and intelligence committee members that has a range of he gender and regional diversity, meant to counter the republican claims that impeachment has been led by this coastal impeachment squad. what they're referring to the fact is the relevant investigative committees are led by folks from new york or
california. that then tees up this major rival where you have top leaders in sparring match as to how it should look and how long it should last. let's go to hallie jackson. it's a new day for the president and a new challenge. >> yeah, we are still hear, lester, some of same talking points from the president and the campaign that this has been a sham and partisan impeachment. make no mistake about it, this moment is history. there is a new day tomorrow. we're already hearing from the campaign calling this an impeachment sham, saying that democrats have voted guess 63 million americans. as we talked about moments ago, saying the only part of the vote that was bipartisan was in opposition. president trump in their view -- the campaign, continuing to rack up victories. that sets up where this goes next. not just the senate trial coming up after
the holidays, but the rest of the 2020 campaign season. this is going to be an issue. the question is where are voters on this? where will they be? this weariness, this numbness to what we've been seeing political unfold, especially when you look at some of the voters are largely split on whether the president should be removed from office. then there's the issue of what is learned in ensuing days here. rudy giuliani taking that trip back to ukraine, some of the statements he made recently that seemed to validate what democrats have talked about. that's still an unknown, isn't it? >> absolutely. there's always the x factor, the wild card, the thing can you not foresee. as president trump gets ready to head south, mar-a-lago, for the holidays, and what may emerge out of washington. when he comes back, the expectations is the senate trial will
begin. >> hallie jackson, thanks very much. watching the president at that rally, not clear whether he knows in fact he's been impeached. two articles of impeachment, but clearly knowing that it would happen during this appearance, and perhaps having much to do with the timing of this particular trip. he will return to the white house facing a new challenge before the u.s. senate and how that will go, of course, will determine. it's a long day, a history day, and the stories i know is not over. donald trump will have his day in court just weeks from now in the republican-controlled senate. for that that concludes our coverage. for all of us, thank you for being with us, i'm lester holt, nbc news, new york.
right now at 6:00, she jumped out of the window to escape her ex-boyfriend. the new details about a man accused of stabbing her child and the new am weber alert. the one thing facebook is not allowing them to do. but first -- >> article 1 is adopted. >> a historical night. for just the third time in history the house votes to impeach the president. thanks for joining us. i'm aguirre. >> and i'm raj mathai. the president has been impeached. it happened mosts ago. it's under two